Building Community Through the Arts

Announcing our 2022 Young Writers’ Contest!

Spencertown Academy is excited to once again open its annual Young Writers’ Contest to high school students (including homeschoolers) in Columbia County, NY and Berkshire County, MA, grades 9-12. This also includes high school students residing in these counties during the 21-22 school year.

Works will be judged in an anonymous process by published authors and publishing professionals, volunteering their services for this contest.


A total of SIX prizes will be awarded, in two writing categories:

  • Fiction: Short Story: Prizes of $250, $150 and $100
  • Nonfiction: Personal Essay or Memoir: Prizes of $250, $150 and $100


  • Entry submissions will be accepted until midnight, Monday, May 1st.
  • Send entries to: [email protected].
  • One entry per student. Select your own fiction or nonfiction topic. Submissions are limited to a maximum of 2,000 words.
  • All works must be submitted via email attachment, in unlocked document format, such as Word. Locked formats will be returned unread.
  • Work must be formatted in 12-pt type, double spaced, on standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ pages, with one inch margins.
  • Include a story or essay title on your document, and identify it as ‘Fiction’ or ‘Nonfiction. NO personal identifying info on the document, please.
  • Include your name, address, school and grade, in the body of your email. A phone number is optional, but helpful.
  • Prizes will be awarded before the end of the 2022 school year. All winners will be invited to read from their work on a Zoom presentation event for friends and family. Additionally, First Prize winners may be invited to read live at our Festival of Books in the autumn, depending on state recommendations for public gatherings.

Questions? Contact us at [email protected].

Read 2021’s Wonderful Winning Entries

Fiction/Short Story

First Place: Sasha Truax 12th Grade New Lebanon High School Chocolate Chip Cookies
Second Place: Samantha Saavedra, 10th Grade, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Liam Henderson
Third Place: Mattie Vandiver, 12th Grade, Berkshire Waldorf High School, The Science of Friendship
Honorable Mention: Jin Fernbacher, 10th Grade, Berkshire Waldorf High School, A Single Orange

Nonfiction/Essay or Memoir

First Place: Dezjuan K. Smith, 11th Grade, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Everything Under the Sun, Maybe
Second Place: Amanda Roberts, 11th Grade, Chatham HS, Below the Surface 
Third Place: Phoebe Hebert, 12th Grade, Chatham HS, The City

NYSCA logo
Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. 
Hawthorne Valley Association logo
This program is generously supported by Hawthorne Valley.

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